The value of video for PR / The Sarah Hall column

Authored by Sarah Hall.
3 min read

There is no doubt that video is recognised as a key way to engage with audiences. A natural storytelling tool, videos can entertain, educate, inspire and communicate complex messages very simply.

PR is asserting its natural place in content management and SEO, so it makes sense that practitioners are turning to short films as part of their arsenal.

Press pause and find out why

There’s a lot to be said for uploading decent branded content that is relevant to your target audiences.

An infographic by Syndacast (external link) states that 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with best return on investment.

Using the word ‘Video’ in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.

Take YouTube, which turned ten in April. With over 1 billion unique users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine after Google and processes around 36 billion queries annually.

Placing your or your client’s branded content on there therefore opens up significant market potential. And it’s a great place to go to look through the huge range of videos for inspiration and idea development.

Find a purpose for your videos

There are many advantages to uploading branded videos to YouTube.

The platform’s analytics show that half of its global views are on mobile devices. According to We Are Social (external link), 50% of the UK population have active mobile social media accounts.

Killer content can quickly gain traction through shares but that shouldn’t mean you only create videos with the aim of going viral in mind.

As with any marketing tool, videos need to have a purpose and align with the organisation’s overall objectives. This means that even if the resulting film isn’t the run away success you’d hoped for, it still has a use and allows you to rationalise the budget spend.

Aiming for a box office smash

Even when your product or service faces huge competition, there are ways of achieving cut through.

You’ve possibly seen them but the Dollar Shave Club (external link) and Trapped In A Commercial: Hot Pockets (external link) videos are great examples of this. Both brands operate within commoditised marketplaces but use humour to attract attention and get across key messages.

Product demonstrations and sharing know how (external link) can all help reach wider audiences and provide solutions to consumer problems.

Tapping an emotional insight to profile a product or service can also be a successful tactic. Take this Pandora video (external link) which illustrates the unique bond between mother and child and has already had over 12,510,060 views on YouTube since its release this April.

Video translates across all subject matter

Video is perfect for PR because it can help serious messages translate extremely well and explain complexities in a way other marketing disciplines can’t. Take Emma Watson’s empassioned HeForShe speech (external link) on gender equality for UN Women which created conversations about women’s rights across the world.

The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association was able to raise awareness as well as funds through an Ice Bucket Challenge (external link) that saw user generated content sweep across Facebook. In one month, the charity secured $98.2m compared with $2.7m in the same timeframe the previous year.

Ultimately the message with using video is no different to when devising other PR and marketing campaigns. Understand your audiences, tap an insight, tell your story and create an interaction with your customer that doesn’t feel like marketing. Being human is a great way to build brand loyalty and achieve emotional engagement.

At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

Sarah Hall

Sarah Waddington is a pioneer of best practice in the PR industry. Winner of the CIPR’s Sir Stephen Tallents medal in 2014 for exceptional achievement in PR practice, Hall was CIPR 2018 President and she continues to sit on the Institute’s Board and Council to lead its gender and diversity work. She is also a member of the Northern Power Women Power List, and Founder of #FutureProof, a community and book series designed to support communication and PR managers.